Incidence, Etiology, and Clinicopathologic Features of Endobronchial Benign Lesions: A 10-Year Consecutive Retrospective Study

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Background:Airways can be affected by non-neoplastic lesions leading to critical stenosis of the lumen. Incidence, etiology, and clinical significance of endobronchial benign lesions are not systematically characterized.This study aimed to assess the epidemiology of nonmalignant processes involving the bronchial tree on clinical, pathologic, endoscopic, and radiologic grounds.Methods:We retrospectively analyzed bronchoscopy procedures over 10 years at the Bronchoscopy Unit of Modena University Hospital. All the endoscopically growing benign lesions with histologic confirmation were considered. For each lesion, we evaluated demographics, clinical features and outcome, the endoscopic aspect and radiologic characteristics by means of computed tomography as assessed by 2 experienced radiologists blinded with regard to the diagnosis.Results:Over the study period, we analyzed 10,431 bronchoscopies and identified 2075 cases of tracheobronchial alterations. Among these, 11.2% had a benign etiology with an average annual incidence of 23 new cases/year and a general incidence of 2.2%. Anthrachosis was the most prevalent bronchial lesion. In total, 22% of benign lesions presented airway stenosis >50% and required bronchoscopic treatment. Bronchial stenosis was most frequently observed in tuberculosis (P=0.031) and aspergillosis (P=0.020) when compared with sarcoidosis. Immunosuppressive status was significantly associated with endobronchial aspergillosis (P=0.0001) and the 1-year survival from diagnosis resulted significantly lower irrespectively to the immune system condition.Conclusions:A consistent proportion of endobronchial benign lesions are reported. One fifth of these are associated with critical stenosis of the airway lumen, requiring rigid bronchoscopy. Among these, aspergillosis is characterized by the poorest prognosis, regardless of host immunity status.

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